My friend and mentor, Steve Chandler, and a father of four, recently defined parenting as “a progression of one mistake to another as your children grow.” Personally, I like his definition since it adds a little levity to our inexplicable passion to “get parenting right!”  I, too, wanted to raise responsible, happy kids, create a nurturing family life and finally, launch my children fully prepared into adult life. And, as I moved from mistake to mistake, I was fortunate enough to have wise advisors.    

During my parenting days, when I was troubled by my child’s behavior or feed up with bickering siblings or exhausted from the never ending battles around homework, there was no shortage of people (family members, friends, neighbors) I could reach out to for sound opinions, reliable advice or a good shoulder to cry on. 

At times, I didn’t even have to ask for help especially if my parenting debacles were public. A meltdown at the grocery store, high-powered tantrums at the toy store, or heaven forbid the library, brought unsolicited advice from complete strangers on how to properly parent children. Those recommendations ran the gamut:

  • “Give-It-To-You-Straight” Advice: “My Johnny knows that I mean what I say! You need to be firm with your child.”
  • “Code” Advice: Indirect messages conveyed with a raised eyebrow or two, or a sigh accompanied with a cough or a roll of the eyes.  (Code is always left to your interpretation.)
  • “People Without Kids” Advice – Valid, practical childrearing tips from people without children, which advice was never implemented. Why? Parenting can just get plain emotional! 

Rational or not, parents still have to be parents: setting limits, motivating children, instilling values, keeping track of their kids, asking uncomfortable questions, etc, which brings YOU into the picture.  

What Would Mama Do? (Free feel to insert Dada, Papa, Padre, Pops. . .) is a bi-weekly blog where you get to share your parenting wisdom whether you’re a parent, uncle, aunt, cousin or next door neighbor.   

Timely questions will be posed seeking your insights, tips, strategies or sage advice so parents can be prepared before that “freak-out” in aisle 5 strikes!  

If you have any parenting concerns or challenges you’d like input on, please email me at: and I’ll ask our readers, ‘What would Mama do?”

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Melissa Ford

As a coach and blogger, it's my intention to support people to step into a bigger, more powerful version of themselves whether it's in their personal or professional life. LIfe is about living,...

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